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Tuesday, 30 October, 2001, 10:23 GMT
West End opening for Kiss Me, Kate
Kiss Me, Kate
Cast and crew on Broadway took wage cuts to save show
Four stars of the Broadway hit show Kiss Me, Kate are opening in the West End version of the Cole Porter classic.

Directed by Tony-winning Michael Blakemore, the musical opens at the Victoria Palace Theatre on Tuesday.

The Broadway show, based on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, was revived in 1999 to rave reviews and picked up five prestigious Tony Awards.

But in the wake of the US attacks of 11 September, the Broadway actors and crew have had to fight hard to keep the production open after a severe drop in visitor numbers.

On top of a union-agreed 25% pay cut, the entire staff also donated an extra 25% of their salaries to buying tickets.

Drop

The tickets were given away to disaster relief groups in New York in a bid to boost audiences.

Musicals in the West End are also struggling to attract crowds with a 15% drop in revenue since the terror attacks.

But there is a buzz around the opening of Kiss Me, Kate which could help it battle through the tough times.

Brent Barrett, Marin Mazzie, Michael Berresse and Nancy Anderson will be taking the lead roles fresh from starring on Broadway.

Kiss Me, Kate was written by Sam and Bella Spewack, with music and lyrics by Porter, and received its stage debut in 1948.

Memorable tunes

It was the first musical ever to win a Tony Award and has continued to collect plaudits since.

It features some of Porter's most memorable show tunes such Brush Up Your Shakespeare, Another Op'nin' Another Show and Too Darn Hot.

Michael Blakemore made theatre history at the 2000 Tony Awards by winning for his direction of both a musical for Kiss Me, Kate and for the play Copenhagen.

He has also had a prestigious career in London as associate director at the National Theatre and directing Laurence Olivier in Long Day's Journey Into Night.

The Australian's other National credits include Macbeth and the Cherry Orchard as well as West End hits Uncle Vanya and Privates on Parade.

See also:

21 Sep 01 | Americas
Tourism shaken to the core
24 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Reprieve for Kiss Me Kate
05 Jun 00 | Entertainment
British stars shine at Tonys
05 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Tony Awards 2000: The winners
27 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Broadway box office receipts rise
21 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Broadway makes further cuts
18 Sep 01 | Arts
Broadway shows signal closure
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